Not sure where to start with SHINEfest 2020? Here are 11 inspiring conversations from the festival to watch now
We’re still buzzing with excitement from last week’s SHINEfest 2020: Lessons from Lockdown. The festival started with the aspiration to sit down with 10-15 thought-leaders and experts, but at final count we were joined by 46 incredible and inspiring people from around the world and from all walks of life – environmentalists, musicians, authors, media personalities, adventurers and entrepreneurs. These were truly human conversations about life and love, fear and hope, and each one contained the seeds of a better tomorrow…
But with more than 25 hours worth of content to watch, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start. So here are 11 inspiring conversations to move to the top of your viewing queue.
From why he’s on Interpol’s Red List to the poetic explanation of how we are all connected to the planet through water, this conversation with Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd is as entertaining as it is powerful.
He spoke about the five mass extinctions the planet has gone through before the current one we’re living through, but made the point that the planet has persisted throughout.
’The entire environmental and conservation movement is about saving ourselves from ourselves. It’s not about the planet, the planet is going to do just fine. But if we want to have a future on the planet, we have to do something.’
You know an interview is going to be a good one with it opens with Dougie Poynter chatting about ants! But I loved how fascinated he was with the natural world and he stressed how important it is to pay attention to what’s happening beneath our noses.
But the part that stuck with me most was when he said that he consciously switched the intended audience for his book on plastic pollution from adults to children because they’re more responsive.
‘If something’s wrong, they’re just like, “well, let’s not do that anymore”. They don’t question the economy.’
This wide-ranging conversation covered so much ground, from physical health to mental wellbeing, from slowing down to realigning our values to the things that really matter to us.
And I loved it when Gabby spoke about Ohana – that deeper connection with family and community and society. It’s about self-reflection, acceptance, sacrifice – we need to show up and consistently do the work to become who we want to be and do what we want to do.
‘If I get to do what I like to do, that’s a gift. If I get to be surrounded by people that love me and that I love, that’s a gift. If I have my health, that’s a gift. If I’m in a relationship I want to be in, that’s a gift. Noticing in the every day is an extension of ‘Ohana’.
Alessandra is an impact investor, looking ahead of current trends to see where society is heading and identifying the key movements and players to invest in now. She sees this moment as a pivotal point in time with huge opportunities for those who can see them.
‘In the 2000s, you had this boom in funds wanting to do clean investing, green investing. But the numbers hadn’t caught up yet. The innovation and technology hadn’t caught up yet. They have now. We have all the ingredients that are needed across industries – energy, sustainable foods, alternative means, agricultural technology – we have so many pieces of the puzzle lined up. And these are some of the biggest, if not the biggest, investment opportunities of this decade and beyond.’
With energy use down 20% in the UK during the lockdown, renewable energy is meeting more of the demand. And Greg Jackson, founder of Octopus Energy, is hopeful that this experience will help us accelerate that transition to renewable energy as the standard moving forward.
I loved his perspective about sharing positive energy with those around us, pulling each other up, but what really stayed with me after this conversation was his pragmatic approach to making the world a better place. He acknowledged that no one is perfect, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing what we can. If we can’t go entirely meat-free, at least cut back the amount of meat you consume. If you can’t stop driving entirely, at least look into an electric car. It’s about the iterations and small steps, not one giant leap.
‘These compromised decisions actually enable us to pathfind toward a great future.’
With an underlying health condition, Scott has found himself in complete physical isolation during this crisis, but his daily social digital contact has gone into overdrive. He covered so much in this conversation, including the wonderful point that marketers can’t make misleading claims without proof and called for a regulatory mechanism that would keep politicians honest too.
But it was his background in trend-spotting that caught my attention and what that means coming out of the current crisis. Scott believes that our traditional lifestyles of frequent flying, working in offices, city living and large houses will likely change over the long-term.
‘I genuinely don’t think this crisis has created a single new trend. It may do yet, but we’re noticing underlying trends that were already there and are now accelerating.’
We’re huge fans of Natalie Isaacs around here and love what she’s done with 1 Million Women – her platform, app and movement of women around the world ‘building a lifestyle revolution to fight the climate crisis’.
She shared the origin story of the organisation and it was refreshing to hear her calling on people around the world to be stubborn, loud and use ‘every single piece of us to fight’ for a new tomorrow. But it was a message of love that lingered for me after the interview was over.
‘The love of earth – that deep, palpable love we have for our family – underpins everything we do and is where we have to find ourselves. How incredible would it be if we emerge from this and the love of earth and the love of community becomes more important than the stuff we buy.’
Is there a cooler couple?! This is such a fun conversation – not only because of the dynamic between Kenton and Jazz but also because it’s so honest and transparent. They share the ups and downs of lockdown as well as the changes they’re having to make to stay sane and operate smoothly as a family.
But it’s the catchphrases and mantras that I really love. Their family catchphrase – ‘Hell Yeah!’ – is the measuring stick for whether or not they take on new opportunities. If it isn’t a ‘Hell yeah!’, it’s a no.
Kenton shared his favourite mantras, one of which is ‘Light always comes after the darkness’ as a reminder to keep going when things get difficult. And Jazz shared her father’s advice to ‘Keep your own counsel’ because we carry the right answer within us most of the time.
A search engine that uses its profits to plant trees around the world…what’s not to love? This conversation with Ecosia founder Christian Kroll goes deep without being heavy. He talks business, the planet, the value of public health and the importance of community.
But it was the simplicity of this statement that really resonated:
‘In the end, if I look at what makes me happy, yes of course I need money to live and have a certain security, beyond that level that is enough for me, money doesn’t add anything. I see a lot of people chasing millions and millions, but they never get to the point where they have enough. And that point of having enough I can define that for myself…What’s much more important for me is working with great people and a great mission and that contributes much more to my happiness than my bank account does.’
As a Senior Manager of Social Purpose at ITV, Julia wears multiple hats, but the one that offers the most creative satisfaction for her is helping advise on storylines to make the idea of sustainable living normal in the television shows they produce.
I appreciated her perspective on how the coronavirus pandemic has completely cancelled out all our plans for ‘what comes next’, but things got real when she started talking about how uncomfortable it felt for people to be expected to take up new hobbies or become uber-productive during lockdown.
‘As a society, we are going through communal mourning and communal shock and it’s okay to feel like you can’t achieve anything else other than get up, get through the day, go to bed in the evening and still be ok, still be in one piece. And there’s an element of society that has made us believe we need to constantly be achieving and we constantly need to be reinventing ourselves when actually there is so much to take from sitting back and living in the moment.’
Journalist Lucy Siegle has known Riverford’s Guy Singh-Watson for years and that easy rapport and honest conversation is evident from the word go. It’s fascinating to hear him talk about the ways they plan on changing the business model at Riverford to return to the core of what they do and love – delivering seasonal food with the minimum environmental impact and the greatest social benefit.
Amidst the funny-but-spot-on rants about a London-centric agenda and the get-rich-quick entrepreneurs, Guy nails it with his take on people demanding endless choice when they have no ideas what they really want.
‘Choice is incredibly expensive to the environment – and I would say socially expensive. It comes at a cost of someone working unsociable hours in a horrible fulfilment centre with no lights because everyone is at the whim of the customer. Everyone ends up working in the gig economy or the zero-hour economy just so that a few wealthy people don’t have to think, don’t have to plan their lives so they can have whatever they want whenever they want it.’
Whichever conversation you decide to dive into, we know you’ll find something to make you laugh, make you think and, hopefully, inspire even a small change.
We’d love to hear about your #LessonsFromLockdown and what you think about the festival over on social! We’ll see you there.